Russian oil tankers “disappear” from tracking systems near Portugal’s Azores

Russian oil tankers "disappear" from tracking systems near Portugal's Azores

Russian oil tankers "disappear" from tracking systems near Portugal's Azores Credit: Creative Commons

Russian oil tankers have reportedly begun to disappear from tracking systems in close proximity to Portugal’s Azores islands, in what some claim is a way to evade the current Russian oil sanctions.

Multiple Russian oil tankers have disappeared or”gone dark” in close proximity to Portugal’s Azores, according to reports from Bloomberg.

“Going dark” is when a maritime vessel turns off its tracking signal, with the US Treasury previously pointing out this activity as one of several ways the maritime industry has used to evade sanctions. This allows ships to hide their actual destination, as well as their movements.

Portugal’s nine Azores islands are located in the Atlantic Ocean, at a rough 1,000 miles distance from Europe.

December is when the Russian oil sanction by the EU will officially come into effect, which has led large oil companies to act under their own moral standards when it comes to the transportation of oil and their transparency on the final destinations of said oil.

The reasons why Russian oil tankers would “go dark”, as it is currently not illegal to purchase Russian oil in Europe is unclear, but some claim that public backlash is enough of a reason for companies to avoid publicly showing oil purchases from Russia.

 According to the International Maritime Organization’s website “all vessels of 300 gross metric tons or more that sail on international voyages must install tracking technology, commonly referred to as an automatic identification system.”

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Written by

Joshua Manning

Originally from the UK, Joshua is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at